Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Multiple objectives on a walk in the park

Katie gets me up early every day and today I should thank her because I used her motivation to head down to Kensington, my favorite park, which is about 40 minutes south of where Katie and I live.

The woods was full of light and dark images. Should this be the “one” for the weekly photo challenge? No…I don’t think it’s quite right.

You’ve been on walks with me there before – would you like to come along on this one? Are you sure? It’s going to get a bit long, but there are benches strategically placed along the way in case you’d like to stop for a bit.

This is a pretty bench, should I convert it to black & white for Cee’s challenge? No, I don’t think this is the perfect bench shot yet.

Speaking of benches, that was one of my photo objectives because benches is the subject of Cee’s Black & White photo challenge this week. And Nancy’s Photo a Week Challenge is all about light and dark.

Plus I needed something for Trent’s weekly smile challenge.

Surely that drop of early morning mist will make you smile.

So I headed into the woods hoping I could find beautiful things that would satisfy those three challenges. Because when you go into the woods you just never know what you’ll find…but you know you’ll always find something.

This is light and dark, but so much like my Wordless Wednesday post, maybe it’s not ‘the one.’

Truth be told I headed to the most remote trails first thing this morning hoping that I’d see some deer and maybe even some fawns. I got to the park at 7:30 and almost wished I’d arrived earlier, though it was hard to keep an eye out for deer when the path was so full of roots and rocks just waiting to trip me up in the dark, damp woods. I sure didn’t want to fall, so I was being extra careful.

Lots of places for a person like me to trip.

But I did catch this doe. (6/6 edit: Let’s thank Linda for noticing that this ‘doe’ has the beginning of antlers! You can enlarge photos by clicking on them, and apparently she did! This is a he, so I’m changing all the shes and hers to hes and his) He seemed to be alone and I wondered if he had a baby or two somewhere nearby. I only got one opportunity to get his picture, then he dashed away. I liked how the light made his ears pink. I looked hard for a fawn hidden somewhere near but I didn’t see one.

Get your shot lady, I’m not sticking around!

Eventually the soft forest trail turned into a sort of mowed pasture path. The grass was long and wet. I stopped and tucked my pants into my socks and sprayed my ankles with deet. I’d never been on this part of the trail and I was curious what might be ahead.

Turns out the path went right by this small pond with it’s accompanying….bench.

A good place to rest if you have bug spray.

Yes, I thought to myself, now this is the perfect bench for Cee’s Black & White challenge. I stayed there for a bit, trying different angles, but eventually the mosquitoes made me move along. Mosquitoes are like that.

After a couple of miles the trail headed back and reconnected with the more popular paths. I figured I wouldn’t see any more deer. But I was wrong.

She was busy watching another woman who was coming toward me on the path.

A woman talking on her phone was coming toward me and she captured the doe’s attention.

I edged closer.

I cropped this so you could see her eyelashes. She looks surprised but she didn’t mind me at all.

She let me take as many photos as I wanted as long as I didn’t move fast. In fact it seemed like she was posing.

Did you get my good side?

She was definitely a nursing mom, but I didn’t see a fawn hidden anywhere nearby, and she didn’t seem nervous, so maybe it was napping further away.

Continuing on I heard a rustling in a pile of last year’s oak leaves. I expected another chipmunk or squirrel, there had been dozens of them rushing around the forest floor.

Mr. (or Mrs.) Snake went slithering off in search of breakfast.

Still looking for a perfect light and dark image, I noticed these ferns. Very pretty. Definitely light and dark there.

I liked the deep color and the repeated pattern, but it’s not ‘the’ image.

But maybe it’s not exactly right for the challenge.

Moving along, still on the lookout I noticed this perfect dandelion sitting in a puddle of sun.

The light made the seeds glow against the dark background. Still…it’s not quite what I wanted.

But I’ve done a post about dandelions. And I was hoping to find something new.

Definitely light and dark. Hmmmm…maybe it’s the one.

Meanwhile I was pretty much smiling the entire walk, but these guys, grooming themselves and oblivious to me made me grin.

You’d think we could get some privacy here.

And the light off this opening blossom made me smile too.

Pretty in yellow.

But what would be the perfect light and dark image for Nancy’s photo challenge? There were so many to chose from.

In the end I loved this one. One of the first images I took at the beginning of my walk when the sun was barely up…the dew lining the edges of the leaves.

This one met two objectives – light and dark and it made me smile.

After I got out of the woods I wandered over to the boardwalk that lines the lake where a giant heron rookery lives. The baby herons are now teenagers and huge! Mom and dad herons are very busy trying to feed their demanding children. There is a whole lot of activity, and even though I had already met my objectives I couldn’t help but stop for awhile and watch the goings on.

But this is already long enough. If you want to see the craziness that was visible from the boardwalk you’ll have to wait for the next post. In fact I’m thinking about going back tomorrow morning, getting there earlier and spending more time watching the rookery and the lake that surrounds it.

Wait. What? You say you want to see the herons now? Well here’s a taste.

Incoming parent, hungry teens wait for lunch!

But there will be more. I promise. You never know what I’ll come back with!

Very cool tree art.


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It’s hard to smile

This week it’s been hard for me to find something to smile about.

So many families with broken hearts this week.

The news was filled with awful things. The virus killing over 100,000 Americans. The protests and violence stemming from the death that reminds us of other similar deaths.

No, this week I didn’t feel much like smiling.

And then my silly girl wouldn’t sit pretty for a picture and I had to smile…just a little.

Reminding us to stop and smell the flowers.

Yes, this week I looked really hard for something to smile about.

Oh, all right mama. I’ll look at your silly camera. Sort of.

And I found it right here at home.

I hope I made you smile too!


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The case of the purple tick…or why you should wear your glasses in the shower

You know when you’re growing your grey hair out, how your hairdresser tells you that you should use this purple shampoo once in awhile? You don’t? Well let me tell you, there’s a lot more to understand about having grey hair than I realized when I made the decision to stop having it colored way back in October.

But that’s not what this post is about.

Late yesterday afternoon I suddenly couldn’t stand being in the house a minute longer.

Not to say it’s not pretty in my own yard.

I’ve been good about staying home, only going out for groceries. Yes I did take Katie to the woods for a walk one day — we saw no one else on the damp, drizzly forest trail. And four weeks ago I took a drive by myself to photograph barns, another instance when I just couldn’t stay here for another moment.

I’m bored too, mama.

Yesterday I just had to go somewhere so I went to a local park, the one where nature trails wander up over grass covered hills. Getting there around 7:00 p.m. I thought the sky looked interesting. Maybe there would be a sunset worth watching.

Wandering up the hill into the evening light.

I had fun just wandering around. Especially when I found a patch of little lupine hidden among the tall grasses. With the sun slowly lowering the blossoms were lit in the prettiest light. I spent some time walking through the grass, crouching down as I tried to get that light just so.

It was hard to get down close enough to show the light showing through the petals.

And then I walked the rest of the way up the hill to see what the sun and clouds had planned for their last show of the evening.

Turned out the sun slid behind a tall pillar of cloud long before sunset officially arrived. And there wasn’t really much color. Still I took a few shots before I wandered back down toward the car.

Not much of a sunset after all.

And that’s when the storm front moved overhead. The sky darkened and became absolutely beautiful with tall white clouds the center of attention against the black ones following close behind.

A bench to sit and watch the show.

I took a lot of pictures of that combination, the black and white clouds hovering low over the rolling hills. The darker it got the more dramatic the sky became.

It became a dark and stormy night.

And the more the mosquitoes swarmed. The swallows began to fly lower, scooping up the bugs and the sky grew darker and I hurried to the car, making it to cover just before the rain set in.

I was pleased with the pictures I had, but less pleased, later that night when I found two ticks, one on my leg, and one on my neck. Well darn. I’m not sure those lupine shots were worth it!

One last look before I ran for the car.

The rest of the night, and all day today I kept thinking I felt things crawling on me. Finally I decided to take a hot shower and before I got in I remembered that purple shampoo I’m supposed to be using once in awhile. It’s been more than awhile since I used it, so I grabbed it out of the cupboard and shampooed up, wondering why grey hair needs purple shampoo. And then I felt it. A little bump, right on top of my head. About the size of a tick.

Sorry, I have no pictures of ticks.

Frantically I squeezed it between two fingers and put it on a shelf where I tried to see what it was. Not wearing glasses I couldn’t see anything. I turned off the water, stepped out of the shower and tried to grab my glasses from the vanity. That movement made the purple shampoo drip into my right eye. It stung. Now I really couldn’t see anything.

Dripping all over the floor I grabbed a towel and tried to clear up the stinging eye, but no luck. And whatever it was was still lurking in the shower. So I put my glasses on and using one eye went back into the shower to examine the ‘bug,’ hoping it hadn’t crawled away.

These yellow flowers are all I ever get to see.

Turns out it was a bit of dried up purple shampoo, from the bottle that hadn’t been used in longer than awhile.

Well that’s a relief. Apparently the cost of the walk in the hills was only two ticks, I guess those pictures were worth it after all. But next time I take a shower to make sure I’m tick free I’m going to put my glasses somewhere I can reach them without getting out of the shower.

And maybe not use the old purple shampoo.

Yep, stuck in the yard, no adventures for me.


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Influenced

Walking Katie-girl on this warm, almost muggy, Saturday morning I noticed a perfectly formed, fluffy, dandelion seed thingy.

Lots of people don’t like these guys.

I instantly thought of fellow blogger Mike who has taken many wonderful shots of dandelion fluff, and I knew I needed to go home and get the camera.

Katie disagreed.

But after some back and forth and compromise on both our parts, I convinced her to turn around. Once I deposited her back in the house I trotted, with my camera, back down the street. I figured, being it was early, I could get a few shots before the neighbors got going and no one would wonder what I was doing in their ditch.

Kind of cool in black and white.

It sort of worked out, but by the time I was done their garage door was open and they were peering out at me. Once they noticed the camera they just nodded and wandered back inside. I think they’ve seen me out and about before.

But I bet they went out to the ditch later to see what in the world I’d be so interested in.

Yep, the lowly dandelion puff ball is beautiful when you stop and look.


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Spring’s light always makes me smile

It’s that time of year when even the air seems green. Winter has finally given up and spring has enveloped us in it’s welcome warmth.

I know this isn’t in focus but I loved it so much I couldn’t delete it.

I’ve been watching things pop up in the gardens — I swear if I stood there I’d be able to see them growing!

Do you see anything weird in these hosta leaves?

How about now? Do you see what I thought was a frog? 🙂

And the light! The light in early mornings and late evenings is golden.

Evening light makes the last of the daffodils glow.

I can’t help but grab the camera and run outside when I notice that special light. It’s only there for brief moments and then it’s just a memory.

Morning light on apple blossoms.

Lots of mornings I have Katie-girl to thank for getting me out there early enough to see the first golden light.

I’d have missed this morning flight if it hadn’t been for Katie.

Yep, the light in May is definitely a reason to smile around here. What made you smile this week?

Morning light as seen from the tent. Double reasons to smile!


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In the woods on a rainy afternoon

Katie here.

Yea, I know. I was just here a few days ago. But really, wouldn’t you rather hear from me than watch television news? Of course you would.

What’s over that way, mama?

So I was guarding the house er, napping this afternoon and mama said I looked old. My head was up but my eyes kept closing and then my head would droop and then I’d wake up and try to keep watch again. Just resting my eyes, you know.

Why do I always have to wait for you, mama?

Anyway, mama asked me if I wanted to go to a park. She said she was going a bit squirreley herself, being in the house so much. Huh. I didn’t know mama could be a squirrel — maybe I better watch her more carefully.

Are you really a squirrel, mama?

The next thing I know I’m in the car and we’re driving to a park! Mama told me we had camping reservations for next week at this park but the reservations got cancelled cause of the virus.

Mama is sad about that and said we could at least walk in the woods near the campground. She said it would be beautiful even though it was sort of raining on us.

Mama thought these raindrops were pretty. I think they were just wet.

Mama was right.

The trees are beginning to leaf out and they are that pretty early spring green. No one else was there. There weren’t even any mosquitoes!

She spent way too much time on this silly acorn.

Mama spent a lot of time taking pictures of little things she thought were pretty. I don’t get it. There’s nothing out there more pretty than me!

Seriously mother? It’s a leaf. Who cares about a leaf?

Sometimes when she took too much time on things not me I’d huff at her. She told me I was being annoying. Do I look like I’m annoying her?

Well, yea. Sometimes I can be a little bit annoying.

Well. Maybe just a little.

And another thing. She told me I looked old. Do I look like I’m old to you?

I don’t like to be left behind. Plus she has treats.

I didn’t think so. Of course this was the only time I ran like this, and I didn’t do it when she asked me to, I did it just because it was fun. Mama was lucky to get the shot. I got a treat for that one!

Anyway, we had a lot of fun walking in the woods. We didn’t walk real far, because it was over 60 degrees (15.55C) and kind of humid. That makes it sort of uncomfortable for me. Frankly I’d like it if it snowed every day, but I guess that’s not what most people want.

Mama found some yellow flowers for me to sit next to. I think she’s taking this yellow flower project too seriously.

After we got done with the walk in the woods mama said we should check out the boat launch because the sky was getting kind of interesting.

I didn’t mind making another stop at all, even if we were approaching my supper time and normally I’d want to be home so as not to miss it. I’d had quite a few treats on our walk so I was good for a little more adventure.

Even with all these clouds it wasn’t raining on me.

It was beautiful out there at the lake! Some people were fishing but we maintained our social distancing just fine.

I posed for mama whenever she asked and when it started to rain and she wanted to go back to the car I didn’t want to go! Mama says I am stubborn, I say I just know what I want.

Two guys and a boat made a nice picture.

And a princess, always, should get what she wants. So we walked for awhile longer in the nice cool rain. It was wonderful.

Pretty colors and a bit of rain.

I’m a happy princess now. I haven’t had an adventure like that in a long time. Mama says it’s to make up for not being able to go camping next week.

I told her she better get the tent put up in the yard, one walk wasn’t going to make it up to me.

If you agree, please let her know. The more people telling her I deserve a couple nights in the tent the better!

Thank you,
Your girl Katie.

Glad you could come along with me on my walk!


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Smiling so early this morning

I have many things to smile about this week and it’s only Tuesday morning!

First, of course, there’s Katie-girl who makes me smile most days even when she’s getting me up to go out into the pre-dawn morning. Which lately has been very cold to boot.

We couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry this morning about 6 a.m.

And I have what now appears to be multiple orioles at my feeder. Last night there was a series of orioles usurping each other, including the orchard oriole who I hadn’t seen for several days.

This guy is pretty nervous about being photographed.

But the biggest smile today happened just moments ago. I was taking bed sheets off sensitive perennials in my garden, covered last night to protect them from frost and this morning’s snow. It was early, the rising sun was melting the last bits of snow and warming the air. As I pulled the sheets away from the tender shoots I caught a flash of yellow in my red crab apple tree.

Just a goldfinch I thought, but something wasn’t right about the shade of yellow, and I looked again.

A rounder shape, black and white stripes…he hopped along the branches of the crab apple, just a few feet from my head…then he popped out to the end of the branch and the sun lit up his yellow throat.

And me with no camera.

I stood still and we eyed each other. He tilted his head to get a better view of me. I whispered a “thank you sweetie,” to him. We stood that way for a long time and then he flew into the neighbor’s yard.

I’ve never seen this bird before and he’s not in my Michigan bird book. But I went online and found him.

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/yellow-throated-warbler

He was absolutely stunning, and he’s not supposed to be in Michigan. The site says it’s even unusual that he’d be in northern Ohio. I wish I’d had the camera, but probably if I’d lifted a camera to my eye he’d have been frightened off and I wouldn’t have had those long moments with him. So I’ll keep him in my memory and be grateful I saw him at all.

Oh, another smile, also early this morning:

It’s what’s left of the infamous flower super moon of earlier in the month. It’s not full but it’s still beautiful.

Two smiles in one day and it’s barely 9:30 in the morning. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the day has in store for me!